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Staying Behind 29 September 2009

Posted by Troels in : Archaeology, Quick Notes , 1 comment so far

G.W.L. Harding (1901-1979)
The grave of G.L. Harding, Gerasa, Jordan. Photo: TMK, May 2009.

The archaeologist Gerald Lankester Harding is a name closely associated with Qumran as well as Jordanian and Palestinian archaeology in general. He is also one of the members of a small exclusive club of archaeologists that are buried on sites where they were active. The above photo shows his grave on the site of Jerash (Gerasa) in Jordan. I’m strangely fascinated by such cases, the ultimate manifestations of archaeologists that have gotten so attached to an archaeological site that they somehow never manage to leave. Another example is Kenan Erim who is buried at Aphrodisias. (more…)

Schliemann’s Tomb in Athens 12 February 2008

Posted by Troels in : Archaeology, Travel , 2 comments

Schliemanns grav i AthenWhen I was in Athens in September, an archaeological ‘pilgrimage’ was made to the tomb of Heinrich Schliemann (or Σλήμαν, as he is known in Greek), excavator of Troy and Mycene among many other deeds (and misdeeds, some may say….). For some reason, I hadn’t visited before. The grave is located in the First Cemetery, which is a nice and peaceful oasis in the heart of the city. As you’d expect, the tomb is not unlike an ancient heroon and includes a prominently placed portrait of Schliemann himself. Schliemann’s house in Athens – the Iliou Melathron (“Palace of Ilium”, i.e. Troy) – now houses the excellent Numismatic Museum. More photos below the fold. (more…)

A Magic Figurine in Brussels 21 November 2007

Posted by Troels in : Archaeology, Photography , add a comment

Magisk figurine
Musées Royaux d’Art et d’Historie, Brussels. Photo: TMK, July 2006.

I have a particular fondness for Greco-Roman ‘magic’ figurines, including those that acted as ‘voodoo’ dolls. There’s a good collection of them in the Kerameikos Museum in Athens. I particularly like this example in Brussels, especially since it was donated by none other than the great Franz Cumont, author of many works on Roman religion and Mithraism. According to the label, it was found in Athens. I also really like the handwritten label!

Another Case of Repatriation 1 October 2007

Posted by Troels in : Archaeology, Ethics , 2 comments

Repatriated Macedonian gold wreathA while back I wrote some thoughts about the display of repatriated artefacts in Greek and Egyptian museums. When I visited the Athens National Museum last week to see the Praxiteles exhibition, I noticed another example, this time a Macedonian gold wreath that had recently been returned from the Getty. Interestingly, the day of return was pointed out very precisely as 22 March 2007. It is now displayed in one of the central halls of the museum and only one of a list of 50+ pieces that are being returned to Greece and Italy from the Getty. For more on this, see also David Gill’s new blog Looting matters. A couple of additional photos below the fold. (more…)

The New Acropolis Museum: An Update 30 September 2007

Posted by Troels in : Archaeology, Travel , 2 comments

Det nye Akropolismuseum
New Acropolis Museum, Athens. Photo: TMK, September 2007.

I was briefly back in Athens this week and made a trip past the New Acropolis Museum to see how the site has progressed since I was last there in the spring. To me, the museum looks a bit out of place and has turned part of the lively Makriyianni neighbourhood into a generic museum space. Its next victim will be no. 17 Dionysiou Areopagitou, a 1930 Art Deco apartment building. The museum’s relationship to the Weiler Building is also less than happy. However, I look forward to seeing the museum and its new exhibits (including those concerning the excavations of the museum site), when it opens next year. More photos below the fold. (more…)

This is Sparta! 23 July 2007

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Sparta doesn’t really have any monuments that can match the splendour of the Parthenon or any of Athens’ other wonders, but it’s situated in an absolutely stunning valley covered by olive groves. Here’s a couple of photos of the Menelaion and the Taygetos mountain. Oh, and I’d like to apologize for this entry’s headline….I couldn’t resist.

Menelaion
The Menelaion with the Taygetos mountain in the background. Photo: TMK, April 2007.

Mykensk palads v. Menelaion
The Mycenaean mansion near the Menelaion. Photo: TMK, April 2007.

Ottoman Heritage in Greece 12 April 2007

Posted by Troels in : Archaeology , 1 comment so far

I have a soft spot for the often overlooked Ottoman-period remains in Greece. I think it has to do with the fact that they’re still in many ways contested places. How does (and how should) Greek society cope with the ruins of an occupying force that throughout the nationstate’s history has been marked as the ‘Other’? Those are not easy questions.

In recent years, the Greeks have generally done a good job of preserving and presenting many of them. A good example is the 18th century Tzistarakis Mosque near Monastiraki Square in Athens that has been beautifully restored and is now a museum of traditional potterymaking (although its official homepage curiously doesn’t mention the building’s original function as a religious building). I was also very pleased to discover last week in Thessaloniki that a full-colour brochure presenting the city’s Ottoman-period monuments is being distributed for free to tourists. One of these, the Bey Hamam om Via Egnatia, is also regularly open for visitors.

Pasha Hamam i Thessaloniki
Pasha Hamam, Thessaloniki. Photo: TMK, April 2007.

Another of the Ottoman-period monuments in Thessaloniki mentioned in the brochure is the Pasha baths close to the Church of the Holy Apostles. The building’s history goes back to the 16th century and it was, in fact, in use as a public bathhouse until as recently as 1981! It’s now in a rather sorry state, and I wonder what many tourists would feel if they had taken the effort to visit based on the recommendation of the brochure. An Ottoman heritage trail would serve Thessaloniki well, perhaps also to diversify a bit from the expectable (and fully justified) focus on its Byzantine churches. Perhaps it could even be a way for the city (and the Greek nation) to come to terms with a sometimes troublesome past.

Carnivalesque XXV 25 March 2007

Posted by Troels in : Archaeology, Carnival, Late Antiquity , 4 comments

Carnivalesque ButtonWelcome to Carnivalesque XXV – an ancient/medieval edition. I’m also pleased to welcome you to my blog, Iconoclasm, that mainly deals with issues in late antique archaeology and history. Let’s see what the blogging world has been up to lately.

The Present Past
Mary Beard attended an event in London organized by the Campaign for the Restitution of the Elgin Marbles and was surprised to find that a very sober relationship currently exists between the ‘restitutionists’ and British Museum officials. Meanwhile, here in Athens, the construction of the New Acropolis Museum, set to house the “Elgin marbles” on their eventual return, is well underway. I offered some pictures of the current state of the construction. It’s planned to open before the end of this year. When it does, it’ll stand as a powerful monument for the campaign to return the marbles to Athens.

Dorothy King the PhDiva discussed the conditions of archaeology in contemporary conflict zones.

David at Studenda Mira tackled the complex stratigraphy of the Roman cityscape, in this case the Porta Salaria. He also offered some thoughts on late antique Yemen.

Fiction can be a powerful method of communicating research and making the past feel present. This is demonstrated by Mark Rayner at The Skwib in his post “Thag not got milk!” And what better way to recreate the past than to stir up some medieval dishes from the recipes kindly offered by Gillian Pollack?

The Art of Interpretation
According to much media hype, the tomb of Jesus been located in a Jerusalem suburb. Can it be true? Well, it’s all a matter of interpretation. Jodi Magness on the AIA website delivered a forceful NO, whereas blogger extraordinaire Alun Salt gave us lots of discussion and a podcast over at Clioaudio.

Over at the Archaeolog, Elissa Faro discussed the interpretation of figurines from Crete.

At Philolog, Adam Bravo gave us some thoughts on the Roman emperor Julian’s spin doctor.

At the Movies
The film adaptation of Frank Miller’s 300 has opened in many parts of the world. It has been very successful here in Greece, where last night (when I saw it) the cinema was packed in spite of fierce competition from the Turkey-Greece football game that took place at the same time. Mustafa Akyol at The White Path offers a devastating critique of the movie’s orientalism and portrayal of Sparta as a bastion of democracy. Stephen at Ten Thousand Things gives some tips how to enjoy the movie after all. I have, more or less, come to the same conclusions…

The Gracchi at Westminster Wisdom saw Robert Bresson’s “The Trial of Joan d’Arc”.

Matt Page at the Bible Films Blog discussed depictions of the devil in Hollywood, and Bollywood too.

That’s it for this edition of Carnivalesque. Many thanks to all those that submitted entries! Also, don’t forget that Carnivalesque is looking for future hosts. The next edition will focus on the early modern period.

Carnivalesque coming to Iconoclasm 8 March 2007

Posted by Troels in : Archaeology, Carnival, Late Antiquity , 1 comment so far

Carnivalesque ButtonThe excellent blog carnival Carnivalesque is coming to Iconoclasm on 25 March. This will be an ancient/medieval edition and I believe that it’ll be the first time that Carnivalesque will come live and direct from the centre of the Classical world, i.e. Athens. Please forward nominations for contributions to troelsmyrup AT gmail.com or use the handy submissions form.

The 24th edition (on early modern history) was hosted by The Long Eighteenth, and the 23rd edition (on ancient and medieval history) by Memorabilia Antonina.

News from Athens 7 March 2007

Posted by Troels in : Archaeology, Travel , 15 comments

I’m in Athens where work on the new Acropolis Museum is well underway. It will be just as big of a change to the Athenian skyline as the new Ara Pacis Museum was to Rome’s. There are more photos of the current state of the construction work below the fold.

Det nye Akropolismuseum
The new Acropolis Museum, Athens. Photo: TMK, March 2007.

Finds from the excavations of the new Acropolis Museum site are currently on show in the Weiler building that also houses the Centre for Acropolis Studies. Among these are some very interesting Roman statuettes and unfinished marble pieces from a workshop that was in operation in the 1st century BCE/1st century CE. The small, but well-curated selection of the finds is well worth a visit and can be seen until September. (more…)